Leader of the Opposition (Australia)

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Leader of the Opposition of the Commonwealth of Australia
Incumbent
Anthony Albanese

since 30 May 2019
Official Opposition of Australia
Shadow Cabinet of Australia
Member of
Reports toParliament
Term lengthWhile leader of the largest political party not in government
Inaugural holderGeorge Reid
Formation1901
Salary$390,000
Websiteanthonyalbanese.com.au

The Leader of the Opposition is a politician who leads the official opposition in Australia. The Leader of the Opposition in Australian federal politics by convention, is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives. The position is held by the leader of the party not in government that has the most seats in the House. When in parliament, the Leader of the Opposition sits on the left-hand side of the centre table, in front of the Opposition and opposite the Prime Minister. The Opposition Leader is elected by his or her party according to its rules. A new Opposition Leader may be elected when the incumbent dies, resigns, or is challenged for the leadership.

The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system and is based on the Westminster model. The term Opposition has a specific meaning in the parliamentary sense. It is an important component of the Westminster system, with the Opposition directing criticism at the Government and attempts to defeat and replace the Government. The Opposition is therefore known as the "Government in waiting" and it is a formal part of the parliamentary system. It is in opposition to the Government, but not to the Crown; hence the term "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition".[1]

To date there have been 34 Opposition Leaders, 18 of whom have served terms as Prime Minister.[2] The current Leader of the Opposition is Anthony Albanese of the Australian Labor Party, following an election of the new Parliamentary Labor Leader by caucus and ALP members on 30 May 2019. The current Deputy Leader of the Opposition is Richard Marles, who was elected deputy leader of the ALP on the same date.

Role[edit]

The opposition leader is the opposition's counterpart to the prime minister. He or she is expected to be ready to form a new government if the incumbent government is unable to continue in office. This typically occurs when the opposition wins a federal election, after which the opposition leader is appointed prime minister. However, the opposition leader may also be called upon to form government if the incumbent government loses the confidence of the House (most recently in 1941) or that of the governor-general (most recently in 1975).[3]

The opposition leader is the head of the shadow ministry, allocating portfolios and, in the case of the Coalition, determining its membership. He or she is assisted by a deputy leader of the opposition, who is also recognised in the standing orders and entitled to an additional salary. Both the opposition leader and deputy opposition leader are entitled to a degree of special preference from the Speaker of the House.[3]

The position of opposition leader has no constitutional basis but exists as a matter of convention in the Westminster system. A 1960 inquiry into parliamentary salaries and allowances observed:[3]

The Leader of the Opposition has to make himself master of all the business which comes before the House (not merely that of one or two departments); he has to do this at times at short notice and under constant pressure; and he gets no help from permanent officials. At all times he is the spokesman for those who are critical of or opposed to the Government, and he must be unceasingly vigilant and active. He and the Prime Minister should be the most powerful agents in guiding and forming public opinion on issues of policy.

History[edit]

George Reid became the de facto leader of the opposition in the lead-up to the inaugural 1901 federal election, following the appointment of Edmund Barton to lead a caretaker government as Australia's first prime minister. His status was confirmed when the House of Representatives met for the first time after the election. The opposition leader was initially not entitled to any salary or entitlements beyond those of an ordinary member of parliament. As a result, Reid had to maintain his legal practice in Sydney to support himself and was able to attend just over one-third of the sitting days in the first session of parliament.[4]

Although the role was firmly established, the House did not formally recognise the position of opposition leader in its records until 1920.[3] It was recognised by statute for the first time with the passage of the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1920, which granted its holder an additional allowance.[4] Prime Minister Andrew Fisher had previously offered Opposition Leader Alfred Deakin an allowance in 1910. Deakin declined, but did accept a paid secretary.[5] In 1931, the office was incorporated into the House's standing orders for the first time, with the opposition leader granted the right to exceed the time limit for speeches in certain instances.[3]

Salary[edit]

The opposition leader's salary is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, an independent statutory body.[6] As of 1 July 2019, the incumbent is entitled to a parliamentarian's base salary of A$211,250 plus an additional 85% loading, equating to a salary of around $390,000.[7]

List of Leaders of the Opposition[edit]

No. Leader Party Constituency Took office Left office Prime Minister
1 George Reid George Reid crop.jpg   Free Trade East Sydney (NSW) 19 May 1901 17 August 1904   Barton 1901–03
  Deakin 1903–04
  Watson 1904
2 Chris Watson ChrisWatsonBW crop.jpg   Labor Bland (NSW) 18 August 1904 5 July 1905   Reid 1904–05
(1) George Reid George Reid crop.jpg   Free Trade / Anti-Socialist East Sydney (NSW) 7 July 1905 16 November 1908   Deakin 1905–08
  Fisher 1908–09
3 Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Broothorn Studios.jpg   Anti-Socialist Parramatta (NSW) 17 November 1908 26 May 1909
4 Alfred Deakin Alfred Deakin 1910 (crop).tif   Liberal Ballaarat (Vic) 26 May 1909 2 June 1909
5 Andrew Fisher Andrew Fisher 1908.jpg   Labor Wide Bay (Qld) 2 June 1909 29 April 1910   Deakin 1909
(4) Alfred Deakin Alfred Deakin 1910 (crop).tif   Liberal Ballaarat (Vic) 1 July 1910 20 January 1913   Fisher 1910–13
(3) Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg   Liberal Parramatta (NSW) 20 January 1913 24 June 1913
(5) Andrew Fisher AndrewFisher.jpg   Labor Wide Bay (Qld) 8 July 1913 17 September 1914   Cook 1913–14
(3) Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg   Liberal Parramatta (NSW) 8 October 1914 17 February 1917   Fisher 1914–15
  Hughes 1915–23
 
6 Frank Tudor Frank Tudor - Humphrey & Co.jpg   Labor Yarra (Vic) 17 February 1917 10 January 1922  
 
 
 
7 Matthew Charlton Matthew Charlton 1925.jpg   Labor Hunter (NSW) 25 January 1922 29 March 1928
  Bruce 1923–29
8 James Scullin James Scullin October 1928-02.jpg   Labor Yarra (Vic) 26 April 1928 22 October 1929
9 John Latham Johnlatham.jpg   Nationalist Kooyong (Vic) 20 November 1929 7 May 1931   Scullin 1929–32
10 Joseph Lyons Joseph Lyons.jpg   United Australia Wilmot (Tas) 7 May 1931 6 January 1932
(8) James Scullin James H. Scullin.jpg   Labor Yarra (Vic) 7 January 1932 1 October 1935  
 
 
 
 
 
Lyons 1932–39
11 John Curtin JohnCurtin1938.png   Labor Fremantle (WA) 1 October 1935 7 October 1941
  Page 1939
  Menzies 1939–41
  Fadden 1941
12 Arthur Fadden FaddenPEO.jpg   Country Darling Downs (Qld) 7 October 1941 23 September 1943   Curtin 1941–45
13 Robert Menzies Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg   United Australia Kooyong (Vic) 23 September 1943 19 December 1949
  Liberal   Forde 1945
  Chifley 1945–49
14 Ben Chifley Benchifley.jpg   Labor Macquarie (NSW) 19 December 1949 13 June 1951  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Menzies 1949–66
15 H. V. Evatt Herbert V. Evatt.jpg   Labor Barton (NSW) 1940–58
Hunter (NSW) 1958–60
20 June 1951 9 February 1960
16 Arthur Calwell Arthur Calwell 1966.jpg   Labor Melbourne (Vic) 7 March 1960 8 February 1967
 
 
 
Holt 1966–67
17 Gough Whitlam Gough Whitlam - ACF - crop.jpg   Labor Werriwa (NSW) 8 February 1967 2 December 1972
  McEwen 1967–68
  Gorton 1968–71
  McMahon 1971–72
18 Billy Snedden Billy Snedden 1972.jpg   Liberal Bruce (Vic) 20 December 1972 21 March 1975   Whitlam 1972–75
19 Malcolm Fraser Malcolm Fraser 1977 - crop.jpg   Liberal Wannon (Vic) 21 March 1975 11 November 1975
(17) Gough Whitlam Gough Whitlam - ACF - crop.jpg   Labor Werriwa (NSW) 11 November 1975 22 December 1977   Fraser 1975–83
20 Bill Hayden Bill Hayden on 29.5.1990.jpg   Labor Oxley (Qld) 22 December 1977 3 February 1983
21 Bob Hawke Bob Hawke Portrait 1983.jpg   Labor Wills (Vic) 3 February 1983 11 March 1983
22 Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Kooyong (Vic) 11 March 1983 5 September 1985  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hawke 1983–91
23 John Howard Image-Howard2003upr.JPG   Liberal Bennelong (NSW) 5 September 1985 9 May 1989
(22) Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Kooyong (Vic) 9 May 1989 3 April 1990
24 John Hewson John Hewson 2016 01.jpg   Liberal Wentworth (NSW) 3 April 1990 23 May 1994
  Keating 1991–96
25 Alexander Downer Alexander Downer.jpg   Liberal Mayo (SA) 23 May 1994 30 January 1995
(23) John Howard Image-Howard2003upr.JPG   Liberal Bennelong (NSW) 30 January 1995 11 March 1996
26 Kim Beazley Kim Beazley crop.jpg   Labor Brand (WA) 19 March 1996 22 November 2001   Howard 1996–07
27 Simon Crean Simon Crean (1).jpg   Labor Hotham (Vic) 22 November 2001 2 December 2003
28 Mark Latham Ac.marklatham.jpg   Labor Werriwa (NSW) 2 December 2003 18 January 2005
(26) Kim Beazley Kim Beazley crop.jpg   Labor Brand (WA) 28 January 2005 4 December 2006
29 Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd official portrait.jpg   Labor Griffith (Qld) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007
30 Brendan Nelson BrendanNelson.JPG   Liberal Bradfield (NSW) 3 December 2007 16 September 2008  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rudd 2007–10
31 Malcolm Turnbull Turnbull.JPG   Liberal Wentworth (NSW) 16 September 2008 1 December 2009
32 Tony Abbott Tony Abbott - 2010.jpg   Liberal Warringah (NSW) 1 December 2009 18 September 2013
  Gillard 2010–13
  Rudd 2013
Chris Bowen (acting)[8] Chris Bowen.JPG   Labor McMahon (NSW) 18 September 2013 13 October 2013  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Abbott 2013–15
33 Bill Shorten Bill Shorten-crop.jpg   Labor Maribyrnong (Vic) 13 October 2013 30 May 2019
  Turnbull 2015–18
  Morrison 2018–
34 Anthony Albanese Anthony Albanese.jpg  
 
Labor Grayndler (NSW) 30 May 2019 Incumbent

List of Deputy Leaders of the Opposition[edit]

Leader Party Constituency Took office Left office Leader
Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Broothorn Studios.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 26 May 1909 2 June 1909   Deakin 1909
Gregor McGregor Gregor McGregor1.jpg   Labor Party Senator for South Australia (SA) 2 June 1909 29 April 1910   Fisher 1909–10
Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 1 July 1910 20 January 1913   Deakin 1910–13
Sir John Forrest JohnForrest1909.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Swan (WA) 20 January 1913 24 June 1913   Cook 1913
Gregor McGregor Gregor McGregor1.jpg   Labor Party Senator for South Australia (SA) 8 July 1913 7 September 1914   Fisher 1913–14
Sir John Forrest JohnForrest1909.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Swan (WA) 8 October 1914 17 February 1917   Cook 1914–17
Albert Gardiner Albert Gardiner.jpg   Labor Party Senator for New South Wales (NSW) 17 February 1917 March 1927   Tudor 1917–22
  Charlton 1922–28
James Scullin James Scullin October 1928-02.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 17 March 1927[9] 29 March 1928
Arthur Blakeley Arthur Blakeley.jpg   Labor Party Darling (NSW) 29 March 1928 1929   Scullin 1928–29
Ted Theodore Ted Theodore 1931.jpg   Labor Party Dalley (NSW) 1929 22 October 1929
Henry Gullett Henrygullett.jpg   Nationalist Party Henty (Vic) 20 November 1929 7 May 1931   Latham 1929–31
John Latham Johnlatham.jpg   United Australia Party Kooyong (Vic) 7 May 1931 6 January 1932   Lyons 1931–32
Frank Forde Frank Forde.jpg   Labor Party Capricornia (Qld) 7 January 1932 7 October 1941   Scullin 1932–35
  Curtin 1935–41
Billy Hughes BillyHughes1945.jpg   United Australia Party North Sydney (NSW) 9 October 1941 14 April 1944   Fadden 1941–43
  Menzies 1943–49
Eric Harrison Eric John Harrison.jpg   United Australia Party Wentworth (NSW) 14 April 1944 19 December 1949  
  Liberal Party  
 
 
 
H. V. Evatt Herbert V. Evatt.jpg   Labor Party Barton (NSW) 19 December 1949 13 June 1951   Chifley 1949–51
Arthur Calwell ArthurCalwell.jpg   Labor Party Melbourne (Vic) 13 June 1951 9 February 1960   Evatt 1960–67
Gough Whitlam Gough Whitlam 1962.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 7 March 1960 8 February 1967   Calwell 1960–67
Lance Barnard LanceBarnard1967.jpg   Labor Party Bass (Tas) 9 February 1967 5 December 1972   Whitlam 1967–72
Phillip Lynch Phillip Lynch 1969.jpg   Liberal Party Flinders (Vic) 20 December 1972 11 November 1975   Snedden 1972–75
  Fraser 1975
Frank Crean FrankCrean1967.jpg   Labor Party Melbourne Ports (Vic) 11 November 1975 22 December 1975   Whitlam 1975–77
Tom Uren TomUren1966.jpg   Labor Party Reid (NSW) 22 December 1975 22 December 1977
Lionel Bowen Lionel Bowen.jpg   Labor Party Kingsford Smith (NSW) 22 December 1977 11 March 1983   Hayden 1977–83
  Hawke 1983
John Howard John howard.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 11 March 1983 5 September 1985   Peacock 1983–85
Neil Brown No image.svg   Liberal Party Menzies (Vic) 5 September 1985 17 July 1987   Howard 1985–89
Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 17 July 1987 9 May 1989
Fred Chaney Recognise Campaign Fred Chaney Presser.jpg   Liberal Party Senator for Western Australia (WA) 1989–90
Pearce (WA) 1990
9 May 1989 24 March 1990   Peacock 1989–90
Peter Reith Peter Reith cropped.jpg   Liberal Party Flinders (Vic) 24 March 1990 13 March 1993   Hewson 1990–94
Michael Wooldridge No image.svg   Liberal Party Chisholm (Vic) 13 March 1993 23 May 1994
Peter Costello PeterCostello.jpg   Liberal Party Higgins (Vic) 23 May 1994 19 March 1996   Downer 1994–95
  Howard 1995–96
Gareth Evans Gareth Evans University of Melbourne.jpg   Labor Party Holt (Vic) 19 March 1996 19 October 1998   Beazley 1996–2001
Simon Crean Simon Crean (1).jpg   Labor Party Hotham (Vic) 19 October 1998 22 November 2001
Jenny Macklin Jenny Macklin (cropped).jpg   Labor Party Jagajaga (Vic) 22 November 2001 18 September 2006   Crean 2001–03
  Latham 2003–05
  Beazley 2005–06
Julia Gillard Juliagillard-CROP.jpg   Labor Party Lalor (Vic) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007   Rudd 2006–07
Julie Bishop Portrait of Julie Bishop.jpg   Liberal Party Curtin (WA) 3 December 2007 18 September 2013   Nelson 2007–08
  Turnbull 2008–09
  Abbott 2009–13
Anthony Albanese Anthony Albanese.jpg   Labor Party Grayndler (NSW) 18 September 2013 14 October 2013   Bowen 2013
Tanya Plibersek Tanya-plibersek2015.jpg   Labor Party Sydney (NSW) 14 October 2013 30 May 2019   Shorten 2013–19
Richard Marles Richard Marles crop.jpg   Labor Party Corio (Vic) 30 May 2019 Incumbent   Albanese 2019–

See also[edit]

In the Australian House of Representatives, the Leader of the Opposition sits at the front table to the left of the Speaker's Chair (on the right-hand side in this photo).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Denotes an Opposition Leader who had previously been Prime Minister.
  2. ^ Denotes an Opposition Leader who later became Prime Minister.
  3. ^ Gough Whitlam refused to use the title Leader of the Opposition between the dismissal of his government in November 1975 and the first meeting of the new parliament in February 1976. During the election campaign in December 1975 he styled himself as the Leader of the Majority in the House of Representatives.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jaensch, Dean (1997). The Politics of Australia. Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia. p. 100. ISBN 0-7329-4128-8.
  2. ^ "A House for the nation". Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The (official) Opposition". House of Representatives Practice (7th ed.). 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Heriot, Dianne (12 February 2019). "Australia's first Parliament: Her Majesty's loyal opposition" (PDF). FlagPost. Australian Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  5. ^ Brett, Judith. The Enigmatic Mr Deakin. Text Publishing. p. 397. ISBN 9781925498660.
  6. ^ "Salary". Department of Finance. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  7. ^ Doran, Matthew (8 June 2019). "Pay rise coming for federal politicians as they prepare to return to Canberra". ABC News. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Hon Chris Bowen MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  9. ^ The Mercury, Hobart (1860-1954), 18 March 1927 - THE NEWS IN BRIEF
  10. ^ Gough, Whitlam. "Whitlam Speeches – 1975 Election Policy Speech". Whitlam Dismissal. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2006.